Hours after it was reported that the PGA Tour would introduce some limited field no-cut events in response to LIV for 2024, a memo sent to members from commissioner Jay Monahan has confirmed the changes.
The Designated Event Model will see select designated events have reduced fields of between 70 to 80 players with no cut, which Monahan is confident will offer stellar tournaments and improve the quality of the full-field events that will run in between them in the schedule, making the PGA Tour calendar more cohesive and offering fan clarity.
Approved changes include the removal of mandatory participation regulations with the purses, strength of field, FedEx Cup points and prestige thought to be enough to incentivize the involvement of the world's best. Meanwhile, there will be 16 designated events in total, including The Players Championship, the four Majors and the three FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Memo to players re: changes to next year’s PGA Tour schedule. pic.twitter.com/gl2LdUyApCMarch 1, 2023
Tour memo continued: pic.twitter.com/wcJabUNjycMarch 1, 2023
As mentioned in the Golfweek report, there will be a more even distribution of the designated events across the calendar, meaning that players competing in the regular events falling between the more high-profile ones will be able to play their way into the bigger tournaments that follow.
Eligibility for the Sentry Tournament of Champions has also been clarified, with the top 50 players from the previous year’s FedEx Cup Points List through the FedEx Cup Playoffs all qualifying along with winners of PGA tournaments from the previous year, including the PGA Tour fall.
There is also a determination to ensure the format is easy to follow for fans. To that end, the changes promise clear routes to qualifying for designated events. They include the top 50 players from the previous year’s FedEx Cup Points List through the FedExCup Playoffs and the top 10 players from the current year’s FedEx Cup Points List who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible.
Meanwhile, another change promises to give players in standard events an even greater incentive to perform well. It will do this by granting qualification to the five players who earn the most FedEx Cup points from each “collection” of full-field tournaments falling between the designated events.
Others who will qualify include winners of tournaments offering full FedEx Cup points in the current year who otherwise wouldn’t have been eligible, and PGA Tour members in the world's top 30.
There will also be four sponsor exemptions to the events for PGA Tour players, meaning that, for example, Tiger Woods, who acknowledges his injury concerns mean he can’t play a regular PGA Tour schedule, would still have a route to the designated events.
Elsewhere, the FedEx Cup points model will face a shake-up, with more points awarded in The Players Championship, Majors and designated events. Finally, the always controversial Player Impact Program will see its $100m fund reduced to $50m and paid to just the top 10 players, rather than the top 20. The funds that will free up will then be reallocated to the FedEx Cup Bonus Program and Comcast Business Tour Top 10.
In the memo, Monahan explained he expects the changes will help the PGA Tour grow, innovate and deliver a better product, showcase its top performers while “staying true to the meritocracy and legacy that define the Tour”. He also said the changes will “create a season of consequence that deepens and expands fan interest” as well as make each tournament better and offer more value to sponsors, media partners and host organisations.
One player who gave wholehearted approval to the changes is Rory McIlroy. Speaking ahead of this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Northern Irishman - one of the most influential players on the PGA Tour - said: "It keeps the stars there for four days" He continued: "You ask Mastercard or whoever it is to pay $20m for a golf event, they want to see the stars at the weekend. They want a guarantee that the stars are there. So if that's what needs to happen, then that's what happens."
Whether Monahan's and McIlroy's expectations are met is yet to be seen, but it is another sign that the PGA Tour is not prepared to rest on its laurels as it defends itself following the emergence of big-money rival LIV Golf.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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